Automatic Star Trek Post Made By A Robot!

Well, AI, but not enough people liked the Steven Spielberg – Stanley Kubrik movie

And not an android, because it doesn’t look like a human, though that would be a better title.

This video was created without editing from a pasted URL using Lumen5 AI-driven software, as reviewed the other day on this very blog. I also put up a carefully edited and fine-tuned video that began as AI and I talk about that here.

Since I talked about the rough edges of social media AI and the need for editing, I thought Star Trek might provide a perfect example of what comes straight from the mouth of machines.

Now take it away, Captain Kirk! If I may quote from “The Return of the Archons” when Kirk and Spock confront a computer projection named LANDRU that has been guiding yet stifling a civilization for 6,000 years:

KIRK: What have you done to do justice to the full potential of every individual of the Body?
LANDRU: Insufficient data.
KIRK: Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life. The body dies. The fault is yours.
SPOCK: Are you aiding the body, or are you destroying it?
LANDRU: I am not programmed to answer that question.

And then Landru, the computer, shorts out. (Kirk used logic to destroy at least five computers over the course of the series. Imagine talking to Siri but your phone explodes when she doesn’t understand what you are talking about.)

So, everything in moderation? I really appreciate the software, but it hasn’t taken over yet so I reserve any future opinions.  Lumen5 does suggest that it’s a starting point, but they offer an RSS feed feature that will pop up videos for every blog you feed it, a feature they call Instant Video. Somebody is going to shortcut that, and it’s going to be a waste of their viewer’s time.

As for Star Trek predicting the future and changing the world, the original article on cheatsheet.com is here, and it’s worth a visit for even cooler pictures. Why the AI left some of them out, I do not know.

Man, I should have said I do not have that Data.

Mr. Data!

—–David

P.S. The Star Trek episode quoted above is of course copyright Paramount, or CBS, or Viacom, well maybe all of them in some way, and they reserve all rights. We have the right… they have the right. (I digress.) Anyway, it illustrates my scholarly point and probably falls into fair use.

I hope the same applies to the cheatsheet.com post, though that may fall into parody and satire, since I’m really tweaking the nose of artificial intelligence here by going back to a touchstone series that provided discourse on society’s future fears before computers were much more than adding machines.

Automatic Star Trek Post Made By A Robot! was originally published on Creative Uploads

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Everyone Needs A Repurpose In Life

Playing with a new video tool called Lumen5 today, that I think may just be out of beta.

They use AI to help you quickly create social videos out of existing articles, or from scratch if you so desire. At least that’s the promise. Premise?

In real life, of course, a proper polished product takes a little more time, but Lumen5 certainly automates the beginning of a a video and gives you a structure to edit against, and for many of us wanna be procrastinators, it’s exactly the kick in the pants we need to get started on SOMETHING that we SAY we WANT!

I’m not being cruel, statistically machine learning will kick out some fantastic stuff in moments. But if you have a little more skill, technically, literarily, photographic- and video-ily (I knew the grammar was going to fall apart), you want to demonstrate it, so you’ll want to add back in the human touch.

My straight-up first experience: I created an account and logged in, then fed it a URL for an old post with cameraphone tips that urged editing to make things better. (Wow, the metaphor here runs deep!)

Original Post Here: A Little Photo Editing Goes A Long Way

It pulled in the text of the post and all the photos for easy use in their editor. Unfortunately I’d only used two photos (who writes a tip post with only two examples?) so it kindly filled in the gaps with free stock photos from their library, using keywords from the post (lots of camera stuff; actually that was pretty handy.)

It also grabs portions of text from the post (rather than trying to print the whole thing on a hour long slide show.) Great move. It preferred headers and tops of paragraphs and was okay. I edited the text on the separate slides and could move slides and the text boxes around to tell the story better.

 

Music? Yes, there’s a free library or you can add your own. There’s also a Style section to change colors font and the like.

It’s easier to use on a desktop computer, but I did begin on my iPad and got a basic edit out of that.

I decided I wanted to use my own photos, so I moved to the desktop and dug up my folders of older cameraphone pictures, which you can choose one at a time with the Uploader or drag and drop. Worked very well.

It occurs to me only now that I should have tried to use video footage as well since it’s in the stock library (some items are a “premium”). Wonder how to trim that in the simplified interface, or if it needs to be cut before uploading. 50mb limit on uploads, in jpg, png, gif, mov or mp4.

 

 

 

  • It is amazing? Yes, with limitations
  • Can you set it and forget it, just giving it an RSS feed to automatically make videos from your blog while you sleep? Yes. They call that Instant Videos.
  • Should you? Well, if you want your site to be robotic and surface, then okay. If you are going to consider them as first drafts and spend time editing the details to make it personal, then absolutely.

I imagine if you spend some time with this tool, you’ll learn to format posts for even better initial results. But remember that your final audience is human and give it a human touch.

I do love technology. But the web was built by humans on technology, and if we completely surrender our management of it to robots, it’s just going to be AI creators feeding AI readers that post AI replies to very artificial intelligence accounts. What human wants to sift through that for the good stuff? Make it good stuff first, but certainly put your hands on a cool tool.*

On that note, you can post directly to Facebook from inside the program, also Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or download your video to share with your own methods.

It’s available at lumen5.com and yes, they offer a free version with some limitations.

—–David

P.S. The video blog post I made the other day is in this post here. And on Facebook here. It’s about using your cameraphone better and editing the images for best results.

I’ll post another test shortly and update this link when I do.

* THAT does NOT sound right.

Everyone Needs A Repurpose In Life was originally published on Creative Uploads

Wait, Video With Words On It? Cameraphone Tips Revisited

Here is a video version of an early post on cameraphone tips and editing, updated with a fresh look and more pictures than ever! Welcome to the video era, again! (Been happening since movies were invented, then TV, then TV again, then 3D and VCRs and DVDs and HD and Streaming and — it’s not a new thing. It just gets polished up and shiny again.)

20140702_164831

The video includes photos by me, not a stock library. Keeping with the cameraphone theme of the piece, they were taken in 2014 or so with my old Galaxy S3 (except the last tag slide) to show how chasing the latest greatest camera isn’t even that important for quality. Technique, patience, composition, and EDITING are, though.

But this is supposed to be a video post. So here it is on Facebook *  www.facebook.com/CreativeUploads/videos/763280090528806/

And if you don’t like that, here’s a YouTube version:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IykcktjPq_U?rel=0

—–David

P.S. We’ll talk another time about how more pixels aren’t the magic bean. Boy, I do love a new camera though.

* Wanted to test the possibility of using Facebook as a video host, in case I wanted to post in Facebook first. I have my doubts before the experiment even begins. We shall see.

Wait, Video With Words On It? Cameraphone Tips Revisited was originally published on Creative Uploads

Listen To This: NPR Music’s The Austin 100: Stream Or Download Our 2018 SXSW Mixtape

I am always on the lookout for ways to make things more efficient so that I can fit new things in my life, or maybe catch up on all the things I haven’t gotten to. Honestly sometimes it’s to give me more time to goof off, but so what.

So I have this habit going back five years or so, where I would find the giant torrent file that someone created of all of the songs by SXSW invited artists, musicians and bands scheduled to appear that particular year. If you don’t know what a torrent is think of it as a large digital file that you can download a little faster than just from one website. Anyway, imagine that you wanted a sample of music from people playing at SXSW in Austin, that’s what this is to me: a kind of digital radio program that would get you up to speed. Since I don’t go to SXSW, it took me there instead.

Except this compilation is sometimes 1100 or even 1700 songs in all kinds of styles, including some that I don’t particularly care for and mostly artists that you’ve never even heard of. But some of them you should have, and some of the songs are inventive, or cool or soon to be cult classics, or up-and-coming stars.

If you listen to music because you want to make it, if you listen to music while you’re writing and it sets the mood for you, or if you want to do the other thing I did with it, which is torture your family by methodically playing all of the songs over the next few months deciding which ones you’d like to keep and rating them on your iPod, that is definitely the way to go.

Just Google “SXSW 2018 torrent” and figure out how to torrent something if you don’t know how, and you will have more music than you care to listen to. And I mean that in all the ways you can mean that, and I apologize for some songs that you will hate, not all of which will overlap with the ones that I would hate, which is what is so amazing about the whole thing.

But this post is about efficiency. I actually don’t know if somebody made a giant music file pile this year, but I noticed last year that NPR was putting up a list of their favorite 100 songs, which means they already went through a multitude of artists and picked some amazing stuff and made it available in one download.

And here it is.

Stream or download 100 great songs by artists performing at SXSW 2018.
— Read on www.npr.org/2018/03/01/585356494/the-austin-100-a-2018-sxsw-mixtape

I haven’t had a chance to listen to them yet, but last year there were a lot more hits than misses. Plus, it had a few songs that weren’t in the giant torrent file that I also listened to, and didn’t have some songs from that pile that I really loved. But this time I’m going to stop at 100, and move on to the next addictive media on my list. If you find something really great in the giant pile free to share the details in a comment below.

—–David

P.S. Last year my daughter and I got a kick out of Tacocat, whose song “I Hate The Weekend” was particularly catchy, though we enjoyed it ironically and actually like the weekend. I do not know how the band really feels about the weekend, but that is the beauty of Art: the end-user can interpret it anyway they want and there’s not a lot you can do to stop that.

P.P.S. Update: I had to find out. 1276 files. I’m going to try not to download them too.

Listen To This: NPR Music’s The Austin 100: Stream Or Download Our 2018 SXSW Mixtape was originally published on Creative Uploads

Well, That Was Fun

Sorry the site has been down for a little while. But now it’s back live again and at our very own domain name, CREATIVEUPLOADS.COM !

The megawatson.com page is still live, the /CU subdirectory takes you here, and the root is still pointed at my Tumblr for now, but we’ll see what happens in the future.

I actually registered the domain in January right before starting a new job and attacking a dance show edit, at the same time I was helping a close relative recover from surgery…. time management worked great, time availability did not. In between wondering if I should leave the site data where it was or move it and play the SEO dance, it decided to go down and I didn’t have time to fix it.

I suspect it was an implementation of some fancy caching to make things faster, but in any case, I then had to decide if I wanted to fix it, then decide whether to move it or not…. layers on layers, what I love to do! Who needs Sudoku when you have brain teasers readily available, right?

Since I had grabbed a copy of the installation mid-January using the fabulous and famous Duplicator plugin (planning ahead is time management too!), I decided to just try a fresh install on the new server, and here we are half a day later with a live site that seems to have everything in its place!

And that half day included time to go to dinner and a play, so not that bad really.

So thanks to the Duplicator folks (the Lite free version even!*) and Google for the nice searches on fixing my redirect htaccess pages, especially this one at coolestguidesontheplanet since I wanted to move the subdomain and leave the rest where it was.

And here we are!

—– David

P.S. My video edit is done, my medical charge is motivating under her own power and my new job is fun and familiar now. Plus, the site is up. I should have written all these goals down on a piece of paper to give me the psychological satisfaction of crossing them off as encouragement for future endeavors!

Ah, what the heck:

  • Edit video and produce discs
  • Play nurse
  • Enjoy work, learn new stuff and get paid 
  • Fix website

Next!

  • Backup this fresh site while everything’s updated and working!

* And you better believe if there is a business need for the Duplicator Pro version they will be my first choice: it adds better migration for multiple sites and automated backups to several cloud destinations.

Well, That Was Fun was originally published on Creative Uploads

Not Dried Up

I know there’s been a drought of posts, but the site’s just been resting while other projects demand to be watered. Researched an idea to move hosts and now planning on taking everything with and not starting with a new blank page. Whether I have the time to post a lot or not, this will be sticking around for a while. I have a plan. And a hosting plan. The broadcast stays on air.

I also wasn’t sure for a little while if I was going to stick with a self-hosted version or just maintain the perfectly adequate and free WordPress.com mirror, and didn’t want to keep it all shiny to have it disappear shortly.* You do want to spend time creating, but not a disproportionate amount creating something that evaporates.

It’s hard to strike a balance. I have that conversation with my theater-loving performing child who rehearses for weeks and only gets to put on the show a few times, versus me wanting her to be on video or do a film project with me, which could last for ages and find a wider ranging audience..

But the camaraderie, process and applause are a siren call, aren’t they? For all of us, in our own way.

—–David

* Reference: borderline hoarding but also the economy of efficiency.

Not Dried Up was originally published on Creative Uploads

Nine Minutes of a Sleeping Puppy (dreaming of organizing gigabytes of video)

An adorable sleeping puppy accompanied with soft piano music. I was testing camera equipment in early 2016 and pointed it at the new dog (Waffles). Pulled out a few fluffy adorable bits and changed out the soundtrack with some piano improvisations I’ve recorded over the years.

This recorded off my old Canon HV20 which was a great HD digital tape camera, but has a full-size HMDI cable out the back which outputs uncompressed HD unlike what it puts on tape, which is compressed and has a shallow color space.

So I bought an Atomos Ninja 2 last year and this was my first test. The Apple ProRes MOV file ended up being huge of course, just 9 minutes of footage added up to over 14 gigabytes. It’s was edited to half its original length and then compressed using two passes at full resolution, ending as a high quality HD mpeg2 file. It is just under a gigabyte in size (that’s about a 7 to 1 compression ratio if you skip the editing part). Quality costs money, time AND space, not counting the rendereing time.

TIP: Prep and even cue these projects to take advantage of what would otherwise be system down time.

At least these were organized in their own folder groups, if not in a structure by year or vendor, or even on the same drive (when you keep running out of room and have to add drives, you don’t have the time to reorganize right then.)

Now I am organizing Project Archives, with subgroups by client or category, and a second folder of disc images (or whatever the final delivery format was) as another copy of the final version, but as the shallow drawer I will need to dig in if I need another copy or maybe a quick conversion of the completed production to some new format.

Once those are organized in one location, I will immediately copy them to at least one other disc, if not two. This should happen almost immediately after the first copy is done.

In turn, one of those should be a removable or external drive that I can keep in another location if I am serious about the things on it.

—–David

P.S. I have another test video shot in an auditorium during setup, a long presentation collection and teardown that I filmed for use as a timelapse, and it’s 193 gigabytes in the original form. I compressed that to 34 gigabytes with no noticeable quality difference and freed up quite a bit of space by deleting the original, which I don’t need (I probably don’t need the back up either, but baby steps!)

Goodnight.

Nine Minutes of a Sleeping Puppy (dreaming of organizing gigabytes of video) was originally published on Creative Uploads

Microsoft Even Made A Windows XP and Server 2003 Patch for WannaCry

So please patch everything you can. Yes, the initial released version seems to have been halted (accidentally), but it will be back in a more dangerous version… Customer Guidance for WannaCrypt attacks —–David P.S. Friends don’t let friends run XP, but I have friends that do. Sometimes you can’t help it. I still have a…

Microsoft Even Made A Windows XP and Server 2003 Patch for WannaCry was originally published on Creative Uploads

GarageBand IOS iCloud Bug trashes the local original file

Just a little public safety note that I discovered, and I am not particularly angry yet, because for some reason I had made a back up before I tried to upload my file to keep a back up safe.

Creative uploads iOS GarageBand iCloud bug music

There seems to be a bug when using iCloud to backup a project file in GarageBand iOS that destroys your original local copy while also failing to create the backup.

So I use Windows PCs primarily, so I know that I cannot back up my GarageBand files directly to it. There is some evilness going on where Windows sees the song’s  .band back up file as a folder, and I have never seen a way to get around it. That means if you make a back up by having GarageBand create one for iTunes, then you have to sync with iTunes on a Mac in order to see it correctly and get it off of the iPad.

So generally I create a back up on iCloud. And this recent instance I had first copied the file that I wanted to back up inside GarageBand iOS, because I thought I might do some additional editing on it but I wanted to keep the original version safe.  So I trigger the iCloud backup and it spun for a little bit and then gave me this error message: it couldn’t back it up because it was damaged or in an incompatible format. In fact what had happened is an 8-kilobyte file was created in iCloud and it also overwrote the original project file ON THE IPAD.

If I had not made a copy, my work would have been destroyed. After some experimentation and troubleshooting — with many copies, thank you very much — I discovered that it was happening when I was uploading to the subfolder I created in iCloud for my music; it’s called garagebandmusic. No fancy spaces or anything. 

When I copied the GarageBand project file to the main folder file it uploaded successfully. At this point I am not moving it inside iCloud to the folder that I want to use, because I don’t know what the bug is. But I will be hooking my iPad up to a Mac as soon as possible and copying everything off again to have a safe back up.

If you don’t have space on your device I would suggest at the very least making a high-quality copy of your song and mailing it to yourself, or making “stems” which is exporting each track separately from the mix, by muting each track in turn and creating a full length audio file for each track individually. So tedious, and that’s how I used to have to make a backup of all my songs before the iCloud feature was added, because it let me use the tracks in something else, remix later and have some flexibility, although I did lose the ability to edit MIDI data that way, since it was converted to the final audio file.

It’s better than losing everything though.

—–David

P.S. If you are writing music for video or film, stems are terrifically useful alongside the final mix, because you can steal a chord from one section, repeat a bridge with cleaner edits, even create new interludes right in your editing software when an edit changes just a little. Imagine the flexibility you have with time in film applied to the musical layers. This is great if your composer can’t help in a time crunch, or even if  you are the composer.

I used these tricks when I made a short film for Phoenix Comicon a few years ago.  I actually wrote and recorded most of the music I used while still writing the script, before I had even shot anything. It came to me in moments of inspiration during the screenwriting and script editing,  so I composed and recorded a mini soundtrack as a suite, basically. 

In video editing, I found some lengths didn’t fit perfectly. Rather than re-record everything to fit my new desired timing, or worse, leaving timing in place on the film but forcing it to match the music despite the visual rhythms’ own desires, I could pull out pieces, or use shorter bars, vamps and stingers exactly how I wanted. And all on GarageBand iOS, with no iCloud or project backup available at the time.

P.P.S. It’s called Take Me 2 UR Leader and it was a final selection for the Film Challenge that year, not top prize or anything but a rare group. Plus I made a movie in 30 days where I got to handle everything but the acting roles (well, I did do one). I will tell you that’s great fun but collaboration is really great too.

GarageBand IOS iCloud Bug trashes the local original file was originally published on Creative Uploads

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments

I’ve been writing about how I use a free one terabyte limited account on Flickr.com as a handy offsite backup for every digital photo I have taken or scanned in the past twenty years, using a free tool called FlickrSync which I got free from https://flickrsync.codeplex.com/

It’s old but it works. (Check below for links to the previous articles)

My old Flickr.com account is public but disused, but since it’s free I set up a second one a few years ago to backup my digital photos in the cloud as yet another copy just in case.

If you haven’t been reading along: Flickr offers free accounts with ONE TERABYTE of photo storage. So you can share them online. But that’s not required: You can leave some or all of the folders or individual photos private.

Here’s some things about that process I have discovered or had to test out so I could feel comfortable with its behavior.

TIP: YOU CAN EDIT THE FOLDER NAME IN the upload tool BEFORE you upload instead of after. Then you don’t have to go online to annotate right away, and presumably the tool will remember this setting for future additions to the same folder. (Strangely I do this the other way round because that’s how I started, but also because it forces me to review the upload (for accuracy etc.) and organize it immediately while it’s still fresh.)

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Yes, you can rename folders inside Flickr after you upload and it seems to track that it was started with a differently named folder. This is useful in a case like this: I only wanted to upload a subfolder of say “2016_12 EVENT” called “EDITED”, and it displays as a folder tree in the app, but it uploaded as “EDITED” which I expected. The sync tool (and Flickr, really) doesn’t care about any folder hierarchy, just the folder it’s doing. So then I added the date and event value in Flickr for easier recognition and sorting. It did not pop back up in FlickrSync after this since the photos didn’t change.

CAVEAT: Now that I have renamed the folder, the sync tool wants to see it as a NEW folder and add the photos in it as new uploads. Because you can put copies of photos or files with the same name in Flickr, it’s clearly looking at the folder name first then the files in each folder.

Anyway, to complicate things I recently moved to a Network Attached Storage device (think a monitor-less computer that is generally giant hard drive storage with some service apps) which I have mapped to a different drive letter on my computer. It recognized the photos and folders when I started syncing from it, though I tried to do a clean changeover, that is I didn’t combine selections from both drives.

Future uploads, previously from assorted computers, can now be done from the same universal storage location thanks to my giant storage NAS. But really that’s not a backup. It’s a convenient media dump. If it crashed I would lose so many things, if there weren’t copies strewn around. Make copies!

So if I synced a folder in the same location on the folder tree and named the same on my local computer, and then select it with the sync tool from the mapped NAS drive, it is under a couple extra folder names . For example, if
DriveLetterA:\1pix\2016\2016-06\ is originally mapped to
DriveLetterB:\1photos\mine\2016\2016-06
but the sync tool still recognizes there is nothing to do.

What if there is a folder with the same name in a different place?
DriveLetterA:\1photos\mine\2015\flashy
DriveLetterB:\1photos\mine\2016\flashy

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Well, if the photos are named the same in this same-named folder, the app says “Nothing to do.” If you have changed the name of the photos, OR if the folder is a duplicate name but the photos are not (say in a different number range) it will want to sync it.

If the photo SHARES a name but it in fact a different photo (probably based on size) IT WILL STILL WANT TO SYNC IT! Which is great news if your photo ID number loops around or you like to reset it on shoots.

(I tested this by copying a photo over and renaming it with one of the existing photo names in a name-duplicate folder — mind you this a fresh folder that hasn’t been uploaded. You want to find out if you rename a copied over photo to the same name as one you have already uploaded in the same folder, well, you go figure that out. Clearly you are curious. Give in!)

—– David

P.S. Check out my other blogs in this series here:

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize
Flickr Backup Part Three. Sync Experiments (this one)

P.P.S. Click here to get Lastpass for free (or the paid version, I don’t care) and start thinking about more secure passwords without losing the convenience of knowing what they are! Or check out a podcast like TekThing and see what other ones they have experimented with.

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments was originally published on Creative Uploads